“They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.”– John 16:2
During Jeroboam’s rule over Israel, he and his sons rejected the Levites and priests. Jeroboam appointed his own priests. He set them over the demons and the calf idols (2 Chronicles 11:15). As the Levites and priests were removed from position in one area, they repositioned themselves in Judah under king Rehoboam. We are told they left their common-lands and all of their possessions. During an extreme time of trouble, the like-minded under God congregated. Judah was strengthened during this time because they walked in the way of David and Solomon. They walked with God.
We who have been adopted into the family of Christ understand the signs of the times. As our Savior’s return inches closer, we know the birth pangs of this life intensify (Matthew 24:8). Jesus was once invited to teach in the synagogues and openly welcomed. There came a time where He was no longer allowed. The world and its religions became hostile towards the Messiah. They hated Him “without a cause” (John 15:25). As it goes with the Master, so it goes with His servants (John 15:20).
Our stand in the world will become less favorable. The church that stands for holiness will be most hated. Those tolerating sin will be left alone. The world loves its own. Therefore, the world hates the Christian. Jesus made it clear that He sends us out as sheep among wolves. These are the words of our Savior. He does not want us to be unaware. Jesus wants us prepared for the cup of hostility. God knows what is more helpful for our souls, and He holds “every cup of affliction to your head, with His own gracious hand.” This is the very cup that identifies us closest to Christ. What a blessing to be able to drink from it!
“Never believe that your tenderhearted Saviour, who knoweth the strength of your stomach, will mix that cup with one dramweight of poison. Drink then with the patience of the saints, and the God of patience bless your medicine.”– Samuel Rutherford